Making Easter, Zero-Waste
With Easter around the corner, it is a reminder for us of how much we love the holidays in our family! It’s a chance to connect with our each other and make memories and traditions that will last a lifetime. As a kid, I remember waking up on Easter morning and running out to see my Easter basket and to search for Easter eggs. It was filled with toys, candy, and PLASTIC! Lots, and lots and lots of plastic. It was a different time, of course, and when I was a child and people weren’t as concerned about plastic “grass” packaging and zero-waste was an almost unknown concept.
Now that I am a parent, I quickly realized how commercialized our holidays have become. Whether it’s Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, we are bombarded with the message that we need to “buy more” in order to celebrate the holiday. It seems like every store you walk into during the holidays is flooded with cheap plastic toys and treats that are neither good for us or the planet. But that’s ok, because the beauty is as a consumer we can protest with our hard earned money and chose a more sustainable, zero-waste route to celebrate Easter.
We can choose NOT to buy products made unethically or that have a short lifecycle. Instead, you can opt to find unique ways to celebrate the holiday and focus on what really matters. And that is, celebrating the TRUE spirit of the holiday and realizing that monetary gifts are not what your kids will remember. They will remember the egg hunt, the traditional brunch or dinner on Easter, not the PEZ dispenser and “plastic” grass.
Once we had children, I immediately began searching for ways to have an “alternative”, zero-watse Easter basket. I have repurposed baskets from Goodwill and filled them with homemade carrot cake cupcakes, second-hand easter outfits and maybe a new pair of shoes. I tried to find things that the children will not only be excited about but that they will reuse throughout the year. When it comes to zero-waste Easter candy, our youngest has severe food allergies, so we are accustomed to not bringing in baked goods or candy.
We are not vegan in our house, so we hard boil eggs for our egg hunt instead of using plastic ones. In years past, we have rolled out our children’s Red Flyer wagon and filled it with ‘new’ (second hand) clothing from our local children’s clothing resale store. We also reuse all of our Easter stuffed animals, bunny ears, etc. that have been gifted to us by family over the years. We simply store it away at the end of the holiday and bring it back out over Easter. This way it keeps them “special” so that the novelty won’t wear off in one week and end up in our donation pile the next month.
We also surprise the kids with a zero-waste giant cupcake tower filled with homemade carrot cake cupcakes and decorate the cupcake stand with the leftover carrot tops (which I have always found to be pretty). Our kids also LOVE carrots, so we put a few carrots with the stems out near the basket so that they can have a nice bunny-approved snack.
Lastly, the zero-waste Easter egg hunt! They love finding all of the eggs we hid around the house. We also create bunny “footprints” using chalk that leads into the house and in the back yard. The kids really like following the footprints around the yard. We then use some for egg salad sandwiches and I like to pickle my leftover eggs with beets and onions (trust me, it’s delicious)!
Here are some other great ways that you can make your Easter as zero-waste and sustainable as possible.
1. Swap your plastic eggs for reusable wooden eggs or real eggs from your local farmers market.
2. Create homemade treats and candy to give out in place of heavily packaged treats
3. Skip the toys and give a book instead
4. Give sidewalk chalk, the egg-shaped ones are hard to break so they’ll last all year!
5. Coloring book and crayons (bonus points if you melt broken crayon pieces together into an egg shape)
6. Gift an experience like museum passes, tickets to a play, etc.
7. Reuse the same Easter basket, headbands and toys from each year.
8. Buy second-hand Easter outfits and toys if you need to purchase something new.
9. Forget the wrapped candy - make your own chocolate and/or fresh baked goods!
10. Focus on traditions, not gifts.
Have other great low-waste Easter ideas? Post them in the comments below!
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